Two staff members are killed and three students are among the injured as mini-bus from school for autistic youngsters crashes with lorry on the M4
- Two people have been killed in a crash between Chieveley and Hungerford
- The dead both worked in a school for autistic pupils in Hermitage
- Six others were rushed to hospital with life-threatening wounds from the M4
- Road was closed in both directions but the westbound carriageway is now open
By Richard Spillett and Zoie O'brien For Mailonline
Published: 09:24 EDT, 11 October 2018 | Updated: 19:04 EDT, 11 October 2018
Drivers have described a horror crash between two lorries and a minibus that killed two school staff members and left three fighting for their lives as the 'worst accident they've ever seen'.
Three air ambulances were called after the crash which has left three further people with life-threatening injuries, according to South Central Ambulance Service.
Prior's Court school in Hermitage for people with autism revealed two of its staff were killed and three more have suffered serious injuries.
At the time of the crash three pupils were in the vehicle, making their way back from a work placement.
A witness at the scene said he witnessed an elderly woman clawing at the windows of the minibus trying to free those inside.
He told MailOnline: ‘We saw at least one person slumped in their seat in the minibus and an elderly woman clawing at the window apparently trying to get them out. Emergency services were not even there at this stage but soon police cars and motorbikes were racing towards the scene.
‘On the other side of the road, a lorry driver who had clearly witnessed the impact was sprinting back up the west bound hard shoulder on his phone, I’m guessing to raise the alarm.’
The cab of a lorry was seen shattered on the M4 after a serious accident claimed the lives of two people
Mike Robinson, Chief Executive at Prior's Court said: 'I speak on behalf of us all at Prior's Court when I say we are devastated about the road traffic collision which happened today. I send my deepest condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of the two people who lost their lives.
'In such tragic circumstances, we are grateful that all the young people involved are safe and without serious injuries, and we will be doing everything we can to safeguard their wellbeing at hospital and upon their return.'
All six lanes of the M4 in Berkshire were closed on Thursday as the helicopters landed on the carriageway.
Eastbound traffic on the motorway is likely to remain closed 'for a significant amount of time', Thames Valley Police said.
A multiple crash involving a minibus and a lorry on the M4 motorway has left two dead
Police were at the scene on the M4 this afternoon after the tragic crash which left multiple people fighting for their lives
A lorry could be seen across the lanes after the collision on Thursday
Long tailbacks have built up on the M4 after a three-vehicle crash near Newbury today
The crash happened at around 12.20pm on the eastbound stretch of road between Chieveley and Hungerford, which are junctions 13 and 14 of the motorway.
The police have asked those caught in the traffic from the accident to stay inside their cars so emergency vehicles can get through.
Officers are also trying to turn around motorists stuck in gridlock.
A spokesman for South Central Ambulance Service said: 'We currently have multiple resources including the air ambulance at the scene of a serious collision on the £M4 eastbound between junctions 14 and 13. We are working with @tvprp and @RBFRSofficial. Road is likely to be closed for several hours. Please avoid the area & take alternative routes.
'We have taken three paitients with life-threatening injuries to hospital, along with three further patients with less serious injuries following the collision between a lorry and minibus.'
Motorist James Lloyd wrote: 'M4 closed due to worst accident I've ever seen in many years of driving. Avoid area and if you're caught in the tail back be patient…. I promise you don't want to get past it until emergency services are finished.'
Traffic cameras show one carriageway of the three-lane motorway completely blocked
Air ambulances landed on the motorway to fly the most severely injured to hospital
Traffic was tailing back miles on Thursday after the multi-vehicle collision on the M4 motorway
A spokesman for Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service said: 'At 12:28pm on Thursday, 11 October, we received reports of a serious road traffic collision involving a heavy goods vehicle and a mini bus on the M4 eastbound between J14 (A338) and J13 (A34).
'Two crews from Newbury Fire Station and the Heavy Rescue Unit from Dee Road Fire Station were sent to the scene, alongside crews from Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service.
'Crews supported South Central Ambulance Service and Thames Valley Police at the incident. They were on the scene for around two hours.'